Saugerties, N.Y. — Julia Madigan, Victoria Bot and Alexanne Thibault have a lot in common.
They’re Young Rider show jumpers representing Team Canada. Their horses all like bananas. And they all ended up on the podium at the North American Junior & Young Rider championships on Sunday.
Bot ranked third on Chacco Blue, Thibault got second on Chacco Prime (who shares a sire with Blue), and Madigan won gold on Farfelu du Printemps.
Alexanne Thibault soars over the liverpool in the second jumper round.
A challenging course with hard-to-clear jumps left the standings up in the air until the final round. Madigan noted that the courses were designed with high verticals and wide oxers, making a technical course even more intimidating.
“I said earlier this summer, it was my first time jumping in the international ring at Spruce Meadows, I was like ‘I’ll never be more nervous than this,’” Madigan said. “But today I felt more nervous for sure.”
She’s been riding Farfelu for the past two and a half years, so she’s picked up on his personality and quirks. He’s always grumpy in his stall, but peps up as soon as he steps out into the sun.
Julia Madigan (left) and Victoria Bot smile after receiving their gold and bronze medals.
Farfelu has helped Madigan step up her game in their time together, but she still has a few regrets in her riding career.
“I wish I would’ve done a few equitation courses,” Madigan said, laughing.
She thinks would’ve helped her be a little less “hungry” in jumper courses, and maybe even handle the twists of the final course even better.
Equitation aside, Madigan was still able to grab the gold and lead her fellow Canadians to victory.
As every placing was announced, Canadian supporters made their support clear. If their cheers didn’t give their excitement away, the bright red maple leaves printed on their hats and shirts sure did.
Canada’s wins especially hit home when all three girls stood on the podium together, turning toward the Canadian flag to hear their national anthem.
(From left) Alexanne Thibault, Julia Madigan and Victoria Bot felt united on the podium while listening to the Canadian anthem.
“It felt awesome to represent our country and have such a good weekend with all the girls,” Thibault said.
Canadians also grabbed two spots on the children’s jumper podium, and claimed eventing medals as well.
These results show that Canadian riders are not just training hard on their own. There’s something big going on in Canada’s equestrian community as a whole.
Bot gave a lot of that credit to Beth Underhill, who served as the Chef D’Equipe for the Canadian jumpers this weekend.
“Back at home, there’s been a lot of work done to help riders in our under-25 program,” Bot said. “So I think it’s no coincidence that we swept the podium today.”